UK doctors are writing letters to people who have life-limiting conditions such as heart disease, cystic fibrosis, terminal cancer or neurological conditions, and their families, requesting they sign a DNR / DNACPR. They are being advised NOT to call for emergency services should they contract COVID-19 or present symptoms associated with the virus, because, ventilators, beds, hospital services and staff are required to care for “younger and fitter patients who are more likely to survive”.
Doctors in the UK sending this to their elderly and sick patients: You will not get medical help, you will not get a ventilator, and you will not get an ambulance – so please fill out a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ form.
The letter reads:
This is a very difficult letter for the Practice to write to you.
In light of the current Covid19 pandemic crisis, you will be aware that people with significant life-limiting illnesses (such as incurable cancer, neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease and chronic and untreatable heart and lung conditions such as pulmonary fibrosis or severe heart failure) are at more risk from the virus. People with these conditions are also unlikely to be offered hospital admission if they become unwell and certainly will not be offered a ventilator.
For most people with these conditions, the best option is to remain at home and be cared for by friends and family with ongoing support from ourselves and community nursing services.
We would, therefore, like to complete a DNACPR form for you which we can share with the OOH GP services which will mean that in the event of a sudden deterioration in your condition because of Covid19 infection or disease progression the emergency services will not be called and resuscitation attempts to restart your heart or breathing will not be attempted.
Completing a DNACPR form will have several benefits.
1 – Your GP and more importantly your friends and family will know not to call 999.
2. Scarce ambulance resources can be targeted to the young and fit who have a greater chance of surviving the infection.
3- The risk of transmitting the virus to friends, family and emergency responders from CPR (even chest compression alone) is very high. By having a DNACPR form in place you protect your family and emergency responders from this additional risk.
In an ideal situation, we would have a conversation about this in person but as GPs we are at high risk of catching the virus and there is a risk of us being asymptomatic carriers for a number of days before showing symptoms. We will, therefore, be contacting you by phone early next week to discuss completing a form for you.
We will not abandon you but we need to be frank and realistic about what the next few months hold for all of us.”
A petition has known been launched asking the government to reverse this.
Sign petition –